Iran threatens to destroy Tel Aviv if ‘Zionists’ attack

Top Revolutionary Guard figure says Israel ‘does nothing but threaten,’ is afraid to strike

An Iranian Shahab-3 missile launched during military exercises outside the city of Qom, Iran, in June 2011. (AP/ISNA/Ruhollah Vahdati)
An Iranian Shahab-3 missile launched during military exercises outside the city of Qom, Iran, in June 2011. (AP/ISNA/Ruhollah Vahdati)

A senior figure in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps warned Saturday that should Israel launch an attack on his country, Tel Aviv would be destroyed instantly.

“If the Zionists were certain that they could win a war against us, they’d have initiated one by now, but since they don’t have the strength to do so, they do nothing but threaten,” said Mojtaba Zolnour, who represents Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the IRGC.

Should Israel nevertheless decide to strike Iran, the Islamic Republic’s missiles will fall in the heart of Tel Aviv, “even before the Zionists’ missiles will reach us,” he claimed, according to Iranian media.

Zolnour’s comments were reportedly a response to Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, who said Friday that Israel was doing too much talking about Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program, and that “if you want to shoot, shoot, don’t talk.”

In an implied attack on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Yisrael Beytenu party chief recalled that when prime minister Menachem Begin decided to blow up Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor at Osirak in 1981, “we woke up the next morning” to hear about it for the first time.

Similarly, in 2007, when Israel allegedly destroyed a Syrian nuclear reactor, “there was no talk about it” ahead of time, he said in an interview with Channel 2 news.

Netanyahu has long threatened to attack Iran in order to destroy, or at least hobble, its nuclear program, although such threats have largely tapered off since the West launched nuclear negotiations with Tehran.

The prime minister is resolved to take on the Obama administration with a speech that he is scheduled to deliver to the US Congress on March 3, in which he will likely warn against an deal with Iran that doesn’t do away with its uranium enrichment program.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry is set to resume negotiations with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, on Sunday, and Israel anticipates the US may make “more concessions,” Channel 2 reported.

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